Category Archives: Memories and Nostalgia

From Military Balls to Ooozeball: Curing Cabin Fever at Michigan Tech

By Allison Neely | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Spring is definitely in the air at Michigan Tech! Papers have been turned in, classes have ended (at least for the spring), and another class of crazy smart Michigan Tech students have graduated.

A group dressed in military attire pose for a photo. A woman wearing a corsage stands in the middle of the group.
The 1968 Military Ball

While spring in the U.P. tends to be snowier, cooler, and briefer than other places, students at Michigan Tech know how to embrace these fledgling days of spring. For students, cabin fever quickly sets in following Winter Carnival, but before you know it our hearty Michigan Tech students can be seen rocking flip flops and shorts long before the snow fully recedes from campus. A slew of outdoor activities, campus-wide entertainment, and events each year helps get students through to the end of the academic year.
Even in its early years, Tech students enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities and events to beat the winter blues. One of the historically popular spring events on campus was the annual Military Ball. Sponsored by the Army and Air Force ROTC units, the dance was the second largest of the academic year and the biggest of the spring term. Typically each year had a theme with coordinated decor along with a noted live band. For instance, the 1962 annual dance was themed “Stairway to the Stars,” which included an entrance made to resemble a winding stairway and the cafeteria was fitted out with an “astronomical design with a fountain in the middle.” Much like the Winter Carnival celebrations, the Military Ball featured a Queen coronation with the ROTC groups sponsoring candidates and a judging committee made up ROTC members or cadets.

Students playing oozeball in front of Wadsworth Hall in Spring of 2000
Students playing Oozeball in front of Wadsworth Hall in Spring of 2000. Image courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives.

Spring in recent decades saw the addition of Greek Week festivities, which featured a wide variety of social activities. While the week-long celebration was a beloved campus event among the Greeks, its events were largely geared towards students involved in fraternities and sororities on campus and less of a community-wide spring celebration.

Later, Tech saw the incorporation of a more inclusive spring carnival called the Tech Carney. The Carney featured a traditional Flea Market, a balsa wood airplane contest, bike race, frisbee and yoyo contests, and a big party with a band. By the early 1980s the Tech Carney had morphed into a larger campus-wide outdoor celebration called Spring Fling. Hard to believe now, but Spring Fling at Michigan Tech has its origins in 1980. Originally called Spring Bash, the event included four live bands, a lobster bake, and frisbee show; along with Bocce Club and Volleyball Club tournaments and canoe races. Once again, the event was revised in the late 80s as Ventures Day before becoming what we know today as Spring Fling.

Officially started in the spring of 1990, Spring Fling was hosted by the Memorial Union Board (MUB) and held on the Friday of the 13th week of the spring semester. In its first year, approximately 50 organizations participated in the end-of-the-year carnival, which featured food and demonstration booths, activities like fencing, folk dancing, races, ultimate frisbee, and repelling. Tech Tea Time provided a sneak peek ahead of the festivities and in its second year featured refreshments (pizza and pop), a review of previous year’s highlights, and performances from the Michigan Tech Student Foundation, Alternatives Unlimited, and The Troupe.

Students playing oozeball on the lawn in front of Walker Hall.
Oozeball in front of Walker in 1999. Image courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives.

Among Spring Fling traditions has been the selection of a Spring Fling King, which began with the 1992 event. Eight finalists were selected to compete for the title of Spring Fling King, duking it out in the form of a talent competition. Winners received a crown, plaques or cash prizes. In past years Spring Fling has included special entertainment sponsored by the Student Entertainment Board. Performances have included local bands, a Tech Idol competition a la American Idol, as well as headliners such as Verve Pipe, which played during the 1995 Fling.
Likely the most popular event in the past has been the Oozeball Tournament. Our Flashback Friday photo features the 1999 Oozeball Tournament, a crazy mud volleyball tournament played in six inches of mud. According to an article written about Oozeball in 2001 here are the top 3 reasons why you would play:

  1. You like playing volleyball in weird conditions
  2. Mud baths are good for your skin
  3. You haven’t played in mud much since you were five and you kind of miss it
Two students covered in mud after an oozeball game.
The aftermath. Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives.

As you can imagine, the weather doesn’t always cooperate for Spring Fling, but that’s also a long-standing tradition at Tech. In 2010, high winds and mild snow interrupted students’ merriment, forcing organizers to postpone the motorcycle show and in 2013 Tech sadly had to cancel Spring Fling altogether due to bad weather. You might be wondering about the Oozeball Tournament and weather conditions. According to our sources, the Oozeball Tournament usually was held unless the mud froze. Hearty Huskies have been know to dive into the chilly mud bath even after the tournament ended.

Spring festivities have been a staple at Tech for generations. Whether it’s dancing, lounging in a hammock, or diving headfirst into a mud bath, Tech students from all generations have made the most of springtime in the Copper Country. Here’s to another great spring and many, many more to come!


April Is for Fools!

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Michigan Tech students drove a Jeep into Douglass Houghton Hall in 1951.

April brings with it April Fool’s Day pranks, but Michigan Tech students have been known to get up to some mischief all year round. In June 1951, the men of Douglass Houghton Hall drove resident Guenther Frankenstein’s Jeep up the stairs of their dormitory and into the hallway. Although the guys thought the prank was a riot, Frankenstein recalled that the college administration wasn’t laughing and wanted to expel him. They eventually settled for probation.

The next year, fourteen Tech students–also residents of DHH–spent the night in jail for a risque joke that maybe wouldn’t fall into the category of “crazy smart”: along with more than fifty of their peers, they besieged the student dormitory at the St. Joseph School of Nursing in Hancock, hoping to come away with lingerie. Standing outside the school’s Ryan Hall, they shouted their demands for underwear to the young women residing within. Some even wandered into the furnace room before police arrived and arrested members of the group for their disorderly conduct. Eventually, a judge ordered that all charges against the men be dropped.

A set of computer punch cards.

We’ve heard rumors about other pranks that have taken place on Tech’s campus over the years, including some involving tweaks to computer programs on punch cards, but the files of the archives are remarkably bare. Do these tales bring back memories of your own college escapades, whether they took place five years ago or fifty? We’d love to hear your stories!


A Brief History of Women at Tech

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Photo from the 1980s of a Michigan Tech mining engineering student.

Huskies of yesterday and today will often mention “the ratio,” referring to the disproportionate number of male students compared to their female counterparts. According to the most recent statistics published by Undergraduate Admissions, women constitute some 28.2 percent of the Michigan Tech student body. This number may seem small, but it disguises a mighty tradition of accomplishment, innovation, and trailblazing. In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s take a whirlwind tour through how the lives of women at Tech have looked and changed over the years. Unfortunately, in such a small space as this, we can never do true justice to their stories!

Michigan Mining School admission record for Mary Louise Bunce dated Oct. 15, 1889.

Just four years after the Michigan Mining School was founded, at a time when coeducation was uncommon, the first women enrolled. Both Margaret McElhinney and Mary Louise Bunce taught in the public schools of Houghton, and in 1889 they became students themselves again, taking classes in chemistry and geology on a part-time basis. The number of women enrolled  remained small for many years, but their presence, once established, persisted. In 1933, Margaret Holley broke new ground for female Huskies by becoming the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from what was then called the Michigan College of Mining and Technology. Just a year later, she followed up her degree in general science with one in chemistry, then proceeded to a master’s program in general science again. So significant were Holley’s steps at Tech that she later served as a trustee and, under her married name of Margaret H. Chapman, helped to start a long-running scholarship fund in her name to support women’s education at Tech.

Women in a Michigan Tech lab.

The year that Margaret Holley finished her first bachelor’s degree, Tech enrolled a record-breaking number of fourteen “co-eds,” the nickname given to female students at the time. World War II changed not only the number of women at Tech but also the nature of what the college permitted them to study. Historically, women had been admitted to programs in science and some facets of engineering; Ilmi Watia, for example, received a civil engineering degree in 1938. Tech discouraged women from enrolling in certain mining engineering courses and highly technical programs. With young men away at war in vast numbers, however, the United States and Tech both found a need for women to step into roles that they had not otherwise filled. In 1943, the college promoted a new war training program for women that started to break down some of these barriers. The courses were intended for “all young women who wish to serve their country in this emergency by training themselves for essential jobs that carry pay commensurate with their vital importance,” according to a marketing brochure. Women completing the program–whose length varied from eight weeks to a year, depending on the course of study chosen–could immediately enter government or industrial work in roles ranging from the more traditional secretary to engineering technician, full professional practitioner (if they already had degrees in other subjects), and airplane ferry pilot. All courses carried college credit, and women who did not find the curricula of the war training programs to their fancy were encouraged to pursue the full range of coursework at MCMT, including technical fields.

The Smith House, which was used by female students.

From there, slowly and steadily, the population of Tech women continued to grow and blaze trails. In 1945, a women’s dorm opened in the house formerly occupied by Kappa Delta Psi. In the years that followed, the former residence of the Fred Smith family was converted to women’s housing, and, at various times, female students also resided in houses known by the names of Pryor and Robinson. The first woman to earn a degree from Tech in metallurgical and materials engineering graduated in 1947; the first female mechanical engineer at the college finished her program in 1948. By 1952, the college had begun efforts to recruit women in earnest, publishing pamphlets explaining the scientific and mathematical careers open to them with a degree from Tech. Women answered the call and enrolled in many courses of study, including forestry, biological sciences, and all varieties of engineering. By 1968, 8.5 percent of Michigan Tech students were female, rendering the college officially coeducational by the metrics of the time. That year, Co-Ed Hall (now known as McNair) opened to alleviate a shortage of on-campus housing for women. A few years prior, Wadsworth Hall had begun to offer a few spaces to female students. Douglass Houghton Hall, on the other hand, remained all-male until 1973.

Women at 2009 commencement.

Women’s involvement and visibility on campus continued to grow through the remainder of the 20th century. In the 1970s, for example, the first female cadets joined the Air Force ROTC program, and the first national sorority and women’s teams in nordic and alpine skiing came to campus. From 1975 to 1982, Michigan Tech’s nursing program graduated nearly 300 hundred women, representing a larger proportion of female enrollment than perhaps any other degree program on campus. Groups like Woman Sphere and Tech Women’s Connection formed to advocate for women’s issues and initiated important dialogues in the Michigan Tech community. Meanwhile, in 1993, a team of Michigan Tech women won the Intercollegiate Mining Competition, demonstrating both their prowess at mining techniques and the college’s historic roots. How appropriate for Michigan Tech women to literally break ground.

Michigan Tech student climbing.

In 1969, Dean Harold Meese wrote to the women of Tech that, in spite of being vastly outnumbered by men on campus, “you traditionally have more than overcome these odds academically by earning better grade point averages. This, I feel, is due to your above average intelligence and your strong desire to become a well educated person and to find a meaningful way of life.” Whether they joined the Husky family in 1889, 1959, 1999, or 2019, women at Michigan Tech have always exemplified a passion for knowledge and a dedication to leaving their mark on the world. They are making history, one day at a time.


University Cancellations

Instances Michigan Tech closed campus / cancelled classes.

Information sourced from alumni comments, past issues of Tech Alum Newsletter and local media. Comment below and help us fill in the blanks!

Date Reason Closed
Jan. 26, 1938 Snow/Wind
Nov. 22, 1963 Half Day; President Kennedy assassination
Nov. 25, 1963 President Kennedy funeral [per Kenneth Kok]
1964 Half Day; Snow
Fall 1967 Half Day; Power Outage [per Delbert Eggert]
Nov. 27, 1967 Snow (road closures prevented students from returning from break) [per Tom Porritt]
May 1970 Student Protests (following shootings at Kent State) [per John Baker]
Jan. 25, 1972

Snow (perhaps only some professors canceled [per Jim Rosteck])

Nov. 10, 1975 Half Day; Power Outage (Day of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald) [per Garth Bayette]
Nov. 11, 1975 Power Outage (storm/high winds) [per Garth Bayette]
1979 Rain/Flooding [per Michael Sprague] 
1979 Snow
Jan. 18, 1982 Cold/Snow
1983 Half Day
Dec. 2, 1985

“Thanksgiving Drive” Many roads closed – students unable to return to campus following Thanksgiving break.

Jan. 19, 1994 Half Day; Cold (campus closed at noon)
Jan. 20, 1994 Half Day; Cold (campus opened at noon)
Jan. 18, 1996 Snow (also the day of the bank robbery/hostage situation at MFC-First National Bank in Houghton)
Potentially a second day of closure that month [per Dulci Avouris and Brian Juopperi]
1997 Cold/Snow/Wind
2000 Cold/Wind
Sept. 11, 2001 Half Day; 9/11 (maybe not an official closure)
Nov. 5, 2001 Partial Campus Closure; Bomb threat at U.J. Noblet Forestry Building
Nov. 14-15, 2002 Power Outage (electrical cable failure) [per J Haapala and Becky Ong]
Summer 2003 Power Outage (Squirrel ate wires in a transformer)
Mar. 2, 2007

Snow

Jan. 30, 2008

Snow/Wind

Feb. 29, 2012 Half Day; Snow/Wind
Feb. 19, 2013 Half Day; Snow/Cold — Career Fair still held
Feb. 20, 2013 Snow/Cold — Career Fair Interviews still held
Feb. 21, 2014 Half Day; Snow/Wind
July 22, 2016 Power Outage (repairing transformer problem in Daniell Heights)
June 18, 2018 Flood — Day after Father’s Day Flood
Jan. 30, 2019 Cold/Snow
Jan. 31, 2019 Cold/Snow 
Feb. 25, 2019 Snow/Wind (25+ inches and gusts up to 68 MPH)

Winter Carnival Memories and Traditions

By Allison Neely | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Participants in the 1955 Beard Contest
Participants in the 1955 Beard Contest. Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives

Michigan Technological University’s Winter Carnival began in 1922 as a one-day ice carnival presented by the Student Organization. Students performed traditional circus acts–but with students in costumes instead of live animals. According to an article in the Michigan Tech Lode from 1978, the first carnival was held at the Amphidrome and featured four or five student-constructed and manned bucking broncos on ice skates. An even bigger event was held the following year, again with the circus theme, and featured a giraffe made by the Kappa Delta Psi fraternity, a buffalo made by Sigma Rho, and a camel and elephant created by Theta Tau. The Michigan College of Mines band was also featured but only played two songs, a march and a waltz. According to the article, the event garnered wide community attention with approximately 1,100 people in attendance at the 1924 carnival. The carnival proved so popular that the students took their show on the road to Calumet and Marquette.

The carnival was so well-received among the community and students that by 1927 it was established as an annual event. By then, the festival had expanded to a two-day affair and included a formal parade with floats, a dog-sled race, a snowshoe race, and foot races on ice. While college students were the primary participants in the Winter Carnival activities, since the event was a joint venture between the college and the local towns, there were also categories for high school students. Among the highlights of the 1927 carnival was a ski ride behind an airplane on the Portage Canal at 60 miles per hour.!

The very late 1920s and early 1930s saw a hiatus for the Winter Carnival, and by 1930 festivities were suspended in the aftermath of the stock market crash. In 1934, the University’s student chapter of the Blue Key Honor Fraternity resurrected the winter celebration and introduced not only a three-mile snowshoe race, a Snow-Ball dance, a hockey game, and the event’s best known tradition: snow statues. The establishment of the Mont Ripley Ski Hill in 1940 brought festivities across the Portage with ski meets, including the Michigan State Amateur Ski Championship meet, held to coincide with Winter Carnival.

Winter Carnival was again suspended during World War II until 1946. When it was restarted, the carnival saw the inclusion of a stage revue in which fraternities, sororities, and other campus organization presented skits for the enjoyment of the crowd and performers alike. A beard contest was also established in the 1940s.

Carnival grew and evolved over the next couple of decades with attempts at establishing a Fun Night in 1954, which included various student organization booths set up at the Dee Stadium, much like we see at K-Day each year. The Student Council replaced the Fun Night two years later with a concert by groups like the Four Preps or the Limelighters, and in 1961 the Winter Carnival welcomed the inclusion of the popular Broomball event. The Flare Pageant, which had been done in previous years, was restarted in 1962 and featured “skiers carrying colored torches at night down Mont Ripley, forming intricate patterns of light” on the ski hill.

The first place snow sculpture for 1974
The first place snow sculpture for 1974

While Winter Carnival today looks much different from its early years, for the most part Winter Carnival has largely retained its current format since the early 1970s. The snow sculptures, crowning of a Winter Carnival Queen, and annual broomball tournament continue to be staples that have come to define this major Tech tradition. Other events have made fleeting appearances. Highlights of the last fifty years have included some quirky activities unique to the Michigan Tech carnival, including shipments of snowballs sent to Southwest Texas State University for an annual snowball fight. For over two decades, Copper Country snowballs were packed in dry ice and flown to Texas, much to the delight of the Southwest students. Occasionally, the shipment posed some unusual problems like when the 1971 shipment, carefully packed by members of Blue Key, arrived hard as rocks in Texas. Their solution to the problem? A snow cone machine! That’s right, Southwest Texas State students settled for sweet frozen treats instead of a snowball fight that year.

Over the decades, Tech students have competed in everything from snow volleyball and tug-o-war on ice to ice bowling, snoccer (snow soccer), and human dog sled races. One highlight of recent years coinciding with Winter Carnival has been Tech students and community members coming together for a collaborative competition: working together to achieve winter glory in the form of Guiness Book of World Record titles. Since 2013, Tech has held the record for the largest snowball. The snowball, measuring 10.04 m (32.94 ft.) in circumference. was rolled on March 29, 2013. Within the last couple of decades, Tech has also earned titles for most snow angels made simultaneously in one place, largest snowball fight, and most snowmen built in one hour.

Today, the Winter Carnival continues into its 97th year on the Michigan Tech campus and remains an important part of the campus tradition, bringing alumni, students, staff and faculty, as well as a wide range of local and regional community members to Houghton for its annual winter celebration. Once again, students will be back in the swing of spring semester classes and beginning the exciting task of building snow statues on and near campus — so much to look forward to in the coming weeks at Michigan Tech.

Winter Carnival certainly has and continues to have a rich history on the Michigan Tech campus. Interested in learning more? The Michigan Tech Archives holds a wide range of collections and resources pertaining to Winter Carnival at Tech. Included in the Archives’ holdings are records of the Blue Key Honor Society, pictorials, photographs, ephemera, and a plethora of great newspaper coverage in the Copper Country Vertical Files collection.


What you said…in November about Tech!

From Facebook:

“I do believe a Taco Bell 100M dash was a thing in the early 90s” – Susan C.

“I remember walking downtown late at night with the snow softly falling with no other noise or sounds.  It was perfection” -Chris Z.

“In 1959 got my BS in Chem Eng.  Back then none of that existed (new eclectic diners, boutiques).  Still, best years ever! Greetings from Caracas” -Enzio M.

“Downhill skiing during a 1984 snowstorm: On Pewabic St., starting from Houghton High School to a stop directly in front of the Hallmark Store (and one of Houghton’s finest walking the beat) on Sheldon: skeptical policeman– “Evening boys, how long do you expect to be skiing this evening?” Us– “Oh hello officer, it seems we’ve just finished up’.” -Bill S.

“(I remember) Watching the Northern Lights from the roof of our garage, with everyone in the neighborhood clapping and cheering like it was fireworks.”  -Becky S.

“Still go to the Ambassador, Downtowner, Dog House regularly. After I graduated from SBEA, raised my daughters who both graduated from Tech and one son-in-law. They moved away but love coming home for Winter Carnival and Ambo pizza!”  – Gary J.

“In all seriousness though, the beauty of a fresh snowfall in the UP can not be beat. I loved every second of the winter up there (even the sometimes -40 wind chills)” -Eric S.

“The winter of 78-79”  -Melodie H.

“Well when I was at Tech in the early 70s we drove to Marquette for fast food. I did love the pasties at the Kaleva Cafe. My roommate made really great pasties too”  -Carol B.

“Pasties. Had to drive to Marquette for McDonald’s. No such thing as Starbucks in the 70s.” –Steve B.

“Taco Bell after last call at any of the Houghton/Hancock drinking establishments. Drive thru was open until 4 am… and we would be back at Tech for an early round of golf by 6 am. Summer ’93 and ’94. Great times.” –EJ L.

From Parent Network on Facebook:

“As our kids get ready to take their finals, I wanted to share with you “why it is all worth it.” In these photos are people that graduated from Tech 30 years ago to 6 months ago to a current Freshman. They are people who took a half day off of work to cheer on my daughter and the MTU soccer team or drove 3 hours just to have dinner with their sorority sisters. We are all thankful for the education we received, but more importantly cherish the support and friendships that we made through Tech. This is my “Why Tech.” -Michele M.

 


Pasties, Taco Bell, Starbucks: Where did you travel for food as a student?

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

woman making pasties
Preparing a batch of mouth-watering pasties. Undated photograph from the Harold Putnam Collection (MS-050) in the Michigan Tech Archives.

If there’s something you take seriously in college, it’s food. Whether it’s driving to Marquette to get some Buffalo Wild Wings or strategically planning a day around which presentations or campus orgs are offering free meals, you don’t get between a college student and food. At Michigan Tech, sometimes that meal takes on a special local flavor. You’ve seen them around town; you’ve eaten them at your desk, on the beach, or maybe even in the dining halls. How much do you really know, though, about the famous pasty?

A good old song from the English region of Cornwall proclaims, “There’s something about a pasty that is fine, fine, fine!” Huskies and friends know the truth of those words. The delicious dish nourishes the body and warms the spirit with its blend of meat, potatoes, and rutabaga, all nestled inside a flaky crust. It’s the kind of meal that gets you ready for a day of cross-country skiing on the Tech Trails or a hike up Mount Baldy. Nothing is quite like the smell of a pasty baking; nothing tastes quite like that first bite. But how did a meal synonymous with Cornwall become a staple of the Upper Peninsula?

Let’s take a quick peek back into history to answer that question. Cornwall’s long track record with copper and tin mining led the rest of Great Britain to remark wryly, “Wherever you find a hole in the ground, you’ll find a Cornishman at the bottom of it.” Life in the mines of England often meant low wages and back-breaking labor, but it also cultivated a skill and knowledge of the work that made the Cornish miners a gold standard. When Michigan’s copper mines–the very ones whose ruins now lie in Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties–were first being opened for industry, their founders looked to Cornwall for able laborers, and the people of Cornwall, whose mines were tapering off, looked to Michigan for a new hope. One scholarly article on the history of the pasty noted that twenty Cornishmen were already at work in the Copper Country in 1844, just one year after industrial mining began here. With them came their favorite workday meal, which was subsequently adopted en masse by colleagues of all backgrounds.

One of many variations on the pasty recipe held at the Michigan Tech Archives.

We don’t know for certain who invented this tasty pocket of joy, which has seen considerable changes over the years, but we do understand why it was so appealing to the men who worked in the mines and the women who prepared their dinners each day. The pasty’s hearty fillings can be prepared in a large batch and energize a person for a day of hard work; the meal can be held in the hand and eaten without utensils; and it’s easy, relatively speaking, for a miner to reheat a pasty over his candle far underground. By the time the mines of Michigan closed, the pasty had become a staple that the Copper Country was determined to keep. Nowadays, you’ll find them around the local lunch table, sold at community fundraisers, eaten at picnics by the shores of Lake Superior, or on parade at places like Calumet’s annual Pasty Fest.

Let’s raise a pasty toast to the Cornish who brought us a meal worth celebrating!

people eating pasties
Alfred Nicholls and his family show the joy of pasties at the Central Mine Reunion, undated.

What food brings you back to your college days? Was a special meal in particular that you drove to Marquette (or further!) to enjoy? Who makes the best pasties in the UP? And, do you like ketchup or gravy with your pasty?

 

 


What you said…in October about Tech!

From Facebook

Just curious—my grandmother Sylvia Combellack used to feed boys from Tech. She lived in the red house on the corner of Houghton Avenue and Garnet. She cooked for boys from 1945-1986. I was wondering if anyone had a family member eat there. –Debbie

“I went there 84-85. Awesome home cooked meals! Great couple.” –Scott Z. 

Yes, I ate there.” –Dennis L. 

Yes I did. 80 through 83. Great food. Turkey meal and steak meal once a quarter. She told us a story about some foreign students who told her they didn’t like her soup because it was too rich. She said what soup, we had gravy. –Frank L.

I tried my hand at a vegan pasty. Does anyone remember Funky’s Karma Cafe or Conscious Stomach at MTU? Anyone remember Marie’s Deli in Houghton? It was where I first tasted hummus and falafel. Marie remembered all of us MTU grads when we visited her Grand Rapids restaurant. Her son is writing a cookbook and is looking for photos of her days in Houghton if you have any to share. –Cynthia H.

I remember meeting her during orientation at Tech. A group of us from my high school class were walking across the bridge and we met Marie. She stopped and talked to us for about 10 minutes and then told us to come to her deli. We did go and I went with other groups of friends off and on but she always remembered who I was and when we met. Marie’s Deli had the best food! –Anne C.

“Of course!” –Mary H.

“The hummus and Turkish coffee! I doubt I have any pictures and if I did they’re in a shoe box somewhere!” –Stacey K.

“I don’t have any pictures but I remember her deli fondly. I lived above the Lode and had many delicious cheesecakes over the years! I would totally recognize her if I saw her in person. She left a huge impression in my years at Tech.” –Dino F.

“Went on my first real date with Mike Simon at Marie’s, and 27 years later we still remember her and our meals at her restaurant fondly. Her son was sometimes there with her, such a cute little guy! Wish I had thought to take a photo at the time. –Beth S.


Keweenaw Day (K-Day): A Fine Tradition

By Allison Neely | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

While the start of fall semester at Michigan Tech heralds the beginning of a new adventure for new and returning students, it also brings back many fond memories for our alumni. For some, it’s memories of moving into the dorms or buying textbooks; for others, it’s their first class on campus and meeting their advisors for the first. However, most would agree that it was the student activities outside the classroom that they remember the most. Whether it was their first Tech football game or homecoming activities, if you’ve been a student at Tech since the early 1950s, you remember the fun and excitement of K-Day.

K-Day, short for Keweenaw Day, has been a favorite annual tradition of Michigan Tech students since 1951. The first Keweenaw Day was established as a way to bring the campus community together. In response to a growing student body at the then Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MCMT), faculty member, Dr. Charles San Clemente, suggested to the Faculty Association in the spring of 1951 that the college consider a campus community-wide picnic to bring students, faculty, and staff together before the rush of mid semester.

The November 1951 edition of the MCMT Alumni News reported on the success of the first Keweenaw Day celebration held on October 9 held at the picturesque Fort Wilkins State Park. Over 1,000 members of the campus community and their guests attended the event, marking “the beginning of a fine tradition.” The sounding of the campus siren (sometimes referred to as the Engineer’s Whistle) at 11 a.m. marked the end of classes for the day and the beginning of Keweenaw Day festivities. Buses and vans shuttled people up the coast to take in the scenic vistas of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Upon arriving at Fort Wilkins, K-Day-goers were treated to a picnic lunch and a variety of activities, including games, sightseeing trips to the lakeshore and up Brockway Mountain, small game hunting, and fishing. A highlight of the day was the faculty-student baseball game, pictured here. While the game was all in fun, there are rumors that the students won. After the games and tours were ending, K-day culminated in a sing-along around the campfire.

In its 67 years a Tech tradition, K-Day has seen some changes, but at its core, the main themes of festivities, food, and friendship have remained the same. The event was moved to McLain’s State Park in 1976 to shorten the driving time from campus and reduce the road congestion that plagued the event in its early years. Picnicking and fun activities have always been central to K-Day, but additions over the years has kept K-Day a favorite among students. Inflatable games, live music, contests and informational booths; as well as demonstrations featuring medieval fighting, Bonzai bikes, and exploding gummy bears. The student organization fair has also been a great way for new students to learn about campus activities and organizations.

Generous financial and moral support from the College administration and the Student Organization helped to support the event in the early years before the Memorial Union Board took over responsibility in 1967 and Inter-Fraternity Council in 1976. Today, K-Day is sponsored by Fraternity & Sorority Life and Student Activities and still a much-beloved campus event.

As Michigan Tech welcomes a new class of Huskies to campus and another day of K-Day, take a trip down memory lane and share your own K-Day stories!


What you said…about Tech!

Here’s a few comments from Tech’s Alumni Network and Michigan Tech Parent Facebook groups

Friends and fellow MTU grads, BMS has a number of very good opportunities for staff and leadership positions. I have found BMS to be a positive, engaging company with a great mission. Is it time for you to consider a career in Syracuse, NY? I hope you do! BTW, before I joined, several people warned me about the amount of snow they get in Syracuse.  I tried not to laugh…

Back to school time again…so I’d thought I would share this example of when you are a Freshman and walk into MEEM 4220 instead of ENG 1101 somehow.
Still remember that feeling of buying the special paper (isometric dot paper) for the ENG classes and feeling like I had finally made it (get to do “real” design stuff!!)

Assistance needed. I’m a 2016 Army ROTC grad stationed in Hawaii. I ran into a 2006 Airforce grad, and only got his first name, “Scott.” He paid for my breakfast and left. Would anyone know who this is?

paversSo excited to finally see our paver by the clock tower!!!  My son just sent us this photo. On our way up this weekend to see in person! So proud to be a Tech mom and wife.

 

 

 

From the Tech inbox

Moving into McNair (then named Co-ed Hall) in the fall of 1968, the east wing was only finished on the top two floors and the elevators weren’t working yet.  My room was on the top floor so we had to schlep everything up the six flights of stairs. And, even though it was late September, it was warm so the heat in those stairwells was quite oppressive. -Kerry Irons  ’72; ’73

There was something magical about Houghton and Dad’s years there that were absolutely transforming. Incidentally, Dad is being buried in his Michigan Tech sweatshirt! -From the daughter of Evans Foertmeyer, Class of 1945 on the death of her father.